My favorite author died Monday. “Sad day in Mudville.”
(Ironically, the same day I started up this blog.)
She began publishing short stories in 1952, before I was even born, but published her first novel, Restoree, in 1967. I started 6th grade that year, and changed schools when my father came home from Vietnam.
Both teachers were remarkable women, but the second was an amazing lady named Ms. Glenn who read a few pages of The Jungle Book to us each day after lunch. My biggest challenge in life, back then, was learning fractions.
Funny what sticks in the mind with the passing of years. I still love The Jungle Book.
My first “adult” novels were Gone With The Wind and The Love Machine — because that’s what a neighbor-lady handed me to read — during the summer of 1970. Anna Karenina came next, bought from a school book fair. Little did I know my favorites would be romantic sci-fi. And that some of them were in the process of being penned.
Dragonflight, the first Dragonriders of Pern book, was published in 1968 (Dragonquest in 1971). According to Wikipedia, the third, The White Dragon, was the first sci-fi title to make The New York Times Best Seller List — in 1978. Major wow!
That was the year my son was born. It was also the year my brother came home from school and tossed a copy of Dragonflight at me. I promptly fell in love with Anne McCaffrey. (And promptly scrapped a story I had going that would’ve sounded like a cheap attempt at imitation.)
I’d become an avid reader of sci-fi, by then, but Arthur Conan Doyle reigned as my favorite author. I still love Sherlock Holmes. But McCaffrey wrote novels that hit more buttons: mystery, fantastical science, romance … with mind-bending intricate imagination. A master world-builder, that lady:
Lothar, Brain-Ships, Pern, Ballybran, Doona, Ireta,
Demeathorn, Towers, Petaybee, Botany, Vhiliinyar, …
She will be missed.
Anne McCaffrey, 1926-2011
holder of a lengthy list of awards and points of distinction:
a true legend in her own time
may she dance on rainbows … as the rain
and laugh in the sun … as stardust on the wind